Weekly Reader: Vol 2 Issue 23

It’s time once more for all the news and views that you can peruse! It’s another Weekly Reader! As always, if you want to be part of the action, drop a link or three in the comments! The more knowledge, the better.

Dark crystals: the brutal reality behind a booming wellness craze (from The Guardian via Longreads): “Despite that explosive growth, the way the crystal industry operates has largely avoided close scrutiny. There is little in the way of fair-trade certification for crystals, and none of the industry-wide transparency schemes developed for commodities such as gold and diamonds. Tracing a crystal from the time it is dragged, dusty and cracked, from the earth, to the polished moment of final sale requires a journey backward down the supply chain: from shop, to exporter, to middleman, to mine, and finally to the men and women who work below the ground, on whose labour a billion-dollar industry has been built.”

Why industry is going green on the quiet (from The Guardian): “Evans claims that, in business-to-business transactions, there may be even less incentive to advertise sustainable practices. Suppliers fear that talking to their price-sensitive business customers about sustainable changes could be seen, at best, as a meaningless distraction when management should be focused on quality and, at worst, as a signal that costs are about to go up. For companies championing a given innovation, it’s an unnecessary risk: you are unlikely to get any other business customers to sign up based on your sustainability credentials, but you might spook those who fear an increased cost being passed on to them. So best to stay quiet.”

Revealed: Trump’s Wildlife Service pick has ties to anti-animal protection groups (from The Guardian): “Skipwith’s ties to Giacometto and Gage, and through them to Westlands, raise questions about whether she will be able to act impartially when making critical decisions about water and wildlife policy in California, which are top priorities for Bernhardt and his interior department.

At her confirmation hearing earlier this month, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse highlighted Skipwith’s past work for Monsanto, a leading producer of an herbicide that has been linked to negative effects on honeybees and other wildlife. Skipwith worked for Monsanto between January 2006 and July 2012, according to her resumé, mainly in crop science and corporate affairs.

In a written statement, the interior department said Skipwith is in “full compliance” with federal ethics rules.”

Why White Supremacists Are Hooked on Green Living (from The New Republic): “Such theories have a long history in American ecological movements, as well. In the early twentieth century, Madison Grant, a Manhattan lawyer, joined the conservationist efforts of Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir, who had founded the Sierra Club in 1892. These men shared an affinity for scientific racism. Roosevelt praised Grant’s 1916 white supremacist tome The Passing of the Great Race, or The Racial Basis of European History as “a capital book.” Another fan, Adolf Hitler, wrote Grant a letter, calling the book his personal “bible.””

‘A Doll For Everyone’: Meet Mattel’s Gender-Neutral Doll (from Time): “The doll can be a boy, a girl, neither or both, and Mattel, which calls this the world’s first gender-neutral doll, is hoping its launch on Sept. 25 redefines who gets to play with a toy traditionally deemed taboo for half the world’s kids. Carefully manicured features betray no obvious gender: the lips are not too full, the eyelashes not too long and fluttery, the jaw not too wide. There are no Barbie-like breasts or broad, Ken-like shoulders. Each doll in the Creatable World series looks like a slender 7-year-old with short hair, but each comes with a wig of long, lustrous locks and a wardrobe befitting any fashion-conscious kid: hoodies, sneakers, graphic T-shirts in soothing greens and yellows, along with tutus and camo pants.”

When the ‘Biblical View’ for Evangelicals Was That Life Begins at Birth (from Rewire News): “Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was recently castigated by evangelicals and other conservative Christians for saying that, according to his read of the Bible, life begins at first breath. But there was a time, not long ago, when that same belief was at the center of evangelical thought. How quickly the Bible can change.”

How White Liberals Became Woke, Radically Changing Their Outlook On Race (from NPR): “Undoubtedly, race and racism have become more salient political issues because of how the president talks about immigrants and minorities.

But the shift in how white liberals think about race actually predates both the president’s victory and the response from 2020 Democratic candidates.”

The Forgotten History of America’s Worst Racial Massacre (from The New York Times): “The Elaine massacre was among the worst instances of racial violence in American history, and it took place in a region, the Delta, that defined itself by its violence and oppression. One African-American, William Pickens, described the region as “the American Congo.” Elaine, though an isolated plantation region, was part of the broader social upheaval following World War I that came in the form of massive strikes and racial confrontations, both at home and abroad.”

Joker Is A Dangerous Film — & It’s Bringing Out The Worst In The Internet (from Refinery29): “Some may argue that it’s unfair to equate a fictional character to real-life terrorists or that it shouldn’t be the responsibility of a filmmaker to make only safe art that can never be misinterpreted or glorified by violent people. Similarly, critics also have the right to analyse that movie as a part of the culture in which it was made, and we have every right to express if and why a film makes us uneasy.”

Growing up intersex in a country where it is believed to be bad luck (from CNN): “According to Segal, many people don’t understand intersexuality because they have not considered that anatomy and hormones do not have to be strictly male or female.

“Everybody wants to do a boy or a girl. There is no room for persons born outside this spectrum that has been created,” he told CNN.”

Spanking Harms Kids, Doesn’t Work And Leads To Long-Term Problems (from Forbes): “All 10 of the other findings showed that spanking was linked to negative outcomes to varying degrees. Children who were spanked had a poorer relationship with their parent and had lower levels of moral internalization, which means they were less able to determine that something was morally wrong for its own sake rather than knowing it was wrong because they’d get smacked otherwise. Spanking was also linked to poorer mental health, higher levels of aggression and antisocial behavior—both in childhood and later on in adulthood. Children were also more likely to become victims of physical abuse and had a higher risk of physically abusing their own child or their husband or wife if they had been spanked.”

How birth control became part of the evangelical agenda (from Vox): “Hours later, the Christian advocacy group My Faith Votes, whose founding honorary chair is Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, released a statement praising Trump’s decision, saying, “The Affordable Care Act mandate forced countless business owners to pay for abortion drugs and contraceptives, even if doing so went directly against their deeply held religious beliefs or moral convictions.””

That’s all for this time. Drop by again for more information on topics you may just find fascinating. So until then, happy reading!

About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon--official and non--since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we were both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 16, 2018. We still miss him. But we're now the acting staff of a Maine Coon kitty named Lulu, who pretty much rules the house. Not that we're complaining about that.
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